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Archives > Q5 In what way is this novella a microcosm of Europe pre-WWI?

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message 1: by Book (new)

Book Wormy | 1989 comments Mod
In what way is this novella a microcosm of Europe pre-WWI? Does the travel agent represent a British perspective? What is Mann's stereotype concerning Italians? Is racism visible in this text?

message 2: by Book (new)

Book Wormy | 1989 comments Mod
The fact that he is not hearing German in the cafes is because the Germans have received advanced warning from Austria about the Cholera and being practical have returned home to avoid it.

Venice is full of people from across the world, the English travel agent, the Polish family, Russians and others so it shows a Europe with free movement of people all content to spend time in the same place.

I did not find anything racist in the text but then again I may have missed it.

message 3: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Robitaille | 933 comments The cholera epidemic could be viewed as an allegory of the impending war, breaking up the apparent harmony among people of various nationalities and bringing in the stench of death.

The Italians are not necessarily painted in the best of lights: the gondoliers are seen as mostly crooks, the authorities do everything they can to hide the fact that there is an epidemic, etc.

message 4: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1608 comments Mod
Interesting theory that Patrick raises. I agree with Sashinka in how various nationalities were mentioned.

I fear I am not knowledgeable enough about what the atmosphere was in Europe pre-world war I (outside the basic facts). I'd have to do some research to adequately answer this question

message 5: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 4108 comments Mod
I thought it cosmopolitan and not racist.

The prewar feel is that everyone is aware of impending doom (the cholera-the war) but they do nothing, they pretend there is nothing happening and they either escape at the last minute or they are caught and unable to leave.

message 6: by Pip (new)

Pip | 1409 comments I thought it was written and set a bit early for the inevitability of war. Although the old hierarchies were breaking down (viz. The Radezky March) there was no mention of that in the book.

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